MONACO (AFP) – Tottenham got a worrying glimpse of life without Gareth Bale on Saturday when they were crushed 5-2 by Monaco in a pre-season friendly.
Welsh star Bale is widely expected to complete a world record move, valued at around 100 million euros, to Real Madrid in the next few days and the 24-year-old did not travel to Monaco for the game.
Spurs, who were also without new 30 million euro recruit Roberto Soldado, struggled throughout to contain Monaco, now coached by former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri and who were promoted back to the French top flight last season.
They were worthy winners with Radamel Falcao, their 60 million euro signing from Atletico Madrid, grabbing two goals.
Monaco were a goal ahead after 15 minutes when Italian defender Andrea Raggi volleyed beneath Hugo Lloris in the Tottenham goal.
Two minutes after the interval, Argentine winger Lucas Ocampos got in front of Harry Kane to head home.
In the 49th minute Falcao scored his first goal of the night, a simple tap in from a pass by Ocampos.
Kane pulled one back for 3-1 just before the hour, but Falcao restored the three-goal cushion with a 15-yard drive which screamed past Lloris.
It was 5-1 after 71 minutes when midfielder Mounir Obbadi finished off a three-man break.
Andros Townsend hit a long-distance screamer with five minutes left to reduce the deficit to 5-2.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is due to sit down for his first face-to-face talks with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez in Miami next week, possibly on Wednesday, The Times suggested on Saturday, to hammer out the Bale deal.
Real are keen to see Bale at the Bernabeu ahead of their opening league game against Real Betis on August 18.
Bale is set to become the most expensive player of all time, an honour currently held by Cristiano Ronaldo, who moved from Manchester United to Real for 94 million euros ($125 million, ??82 million) in 2009.
Levy is reportedly holding out for a transfer fee in excess of ??105 million while Real are looking to strike a deal at around ??85 million with a makeweight, possibly Fabio Coentrao, thrown in.